Israel's 10 most beautiful birds
These stunning aviators brighten up the sky.
From the colorful to the ornate, Israel is home to a stunning array of gorgeous birds. The country's diversity of climate and environments makes for the perfect place for bird enthusiasts to see such a wide range of feathered friends. Its location in relation to Europe, Africa and Asia means that many of the species indigenous to those continents also find their way into Israel at some point, making for a birder's paradise.
Purple Swamphen. (Photo: Ian White/Flickr) Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio Porphyrio) The Purple Swamphen can actually go by quite a few different names (Purple Moorhen, Purple Gallinule and Sultana Bird are just a few of them), but there's no mistaking the chicken-sized bird's standard red bill and frontal shield, and the mixture of gorgeous blues and purples that often grace its feathers.
Yellowhammer. (Photo: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/Shutterstock) Yellowhammer (Emberiza Citrinella) The distinctive black-and-yellowed spotted Yellowhammer has quite an illustrious history. Not only has the gorgeous bird inspired several poems (including "The Yellowhammer's Nest" by John Clare), but its melodic song also influenced works by none other than Beethoven himself.
Common Kingfisher catches a fish. (Photo: PhotonCatcher/Shutterstock) Common Kingfisher (Alcedo Atthis) The tiny Common Kingfisher has a short tail and a large head, but its vibrant blue feathering and orange belly are what set it apart from other birds. If the New York Mets had an official bird, chances are the Common Kingfisher would be the perfect fit. It has special visual abilities that allow it to see under water, which comes in quite handy when its preparing to dive-bomb a fish like in the above photo.
Two European Bee-eater birds. (Photo: Lingouvernable/Flickr) European Bee-eater (Merops Apiaster) You might think that European Bee-eater is just a cutesy name for a bird, but it's actually quite utilitarian; these birds actually do eat bees. They don't, however, eat only bees as their diet also includes dragonflies. What makes the European Bee-eater so beautiful, though, is its gorgeous mixture of greens, reds and yellows that adorn its body.
Rose-ringed Parakeet in flight. (Photo: Vladimir Kogan Michael/Shutterstock) Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula Krameri) Talk about a stunner! The Rose-ringed Parakeet (also known as the Ring-necked Parakeet) is quite possibly the most vibrantly colored bird on this list. The tropical greens, blues and yellows that make it instantly recognizable are also likely to be the same qualities that make the Rose-ringed Parakeet an extremely popular pet.
Bluethroat. (Photo: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/Shutterstock) Bluethroat (Luscinia Svecica) The Bluethroat quite literally has a distinctive blue throat (or bib) that often contrasts a more earth-toned body color. The male's blue bib also includes black, white and orange-brown borders, while the female lacks the brightly colored underbody.
Eurasian Golden Oriole in a tree. (Photo: Karunakar Rayker/Flickr) Eurasian Golden Oriole (Oriolus Oriolus) The Eurasian Golden Oriole (often also known as just the Golden Oriole) has a stunning yellow and black pattern that not only covers its wings and body, but sometimes also creates a beautiful ring around its eye. The male of the species carries the more typical oriole coloring while the female is a more plain green color.
Close-up of a Barn Swallow. (Photo: Stefan Berndtsson/Flickr) Barn Swallow (Hirundo Rustica) The Barn Swallow is actually the most common and widespread of all the swallows in the world, but that doesn't make it any less beautiful. Its forked tail and curved wings are covered in a deep blue tone that contrasts perfectly with its little orange-brown beard. It's actually the national bird of Austria and Estonia, but you can find plenty of them throughout Israel as well.
Black-headed Bunting in a pond. (Photo: Erni/Shutterstock) Black-headed Bunting (Emberiza Melanocephala) If you think the Black-headed Bunting looks quite similar to the Yellowhammer mentioned earlier, you'd be correct. Both birds are from the bunting family and have some similar markings. The Black-headed Bunting, however, appears to be slightly more solid and brighter in color, and can actually be even more difficult to discern from the Red-headed Bunting.
Subalpine Warbler on a tree branch. (Photo: Michael Sveikutis/Flickr) Subalpine Warbler (Sylvia Cantillans) At first glance, you might not think the diminutive Subalpine Warbler deserves to be on the list of "most beautiful birds," but just take one more close look at that gorgeous orange ringlet around its eye. Not only is it visually striking, but it's also a great contrast to the soft grays that often cover the rest of their tiny bodies.
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